Timmy Solomito won the first event for the newly unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, surviving a series of frantic restarts to claim the victory at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina. Solomito took the victory over Rob Summers, outdueling him on an overtime restart to claim his fifth victory on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
“The team gave me a great car right off the trailer,” Solomito told Speed51.com in victory lane. “I just had to save it, protect it, and not knock the wheels off it.”
Summers dominated the early stages of the season-opening event after earning his first NWMT pole since 2001. The NWMT veteran had a chance to claim his first career victory, but spun his tires and missed a shift on a couple late restarts.
“I spun the tires, tried to get it in high gear to stop spinning the tires, and just couldn’t get it into fourth gear,” Summers said after the second-place finish. “It’s the one that just gets away. I wish I hadn’t missed the shift, but what can you do?”
A lap-139 caution for an incident involving Jamie Tomaino and Danny Bohn set the stage for the chaotic finish. Donny Lia restarted alongside Summers, but was swept up in the incident along with Shawn Solomito, Jeremy Gerstner, and Les Hinckley.
“We just didn’t get going on the restart too well,” Lia said. “Somebody got into the side of me, or back of me. We went down into one and two, and right about the point of having it saved, somebody came across the race track and put us in the fence.”
“Robbie and Donny were beating each other up a little bit on the restart,” Shawn Solomito said about the incident. “I got up next to Robbie, and I don’t know if he didn’t know I was there or he bounced off Donny or something. He got into the right-front, put me in the fence along pit road, broke a brake-line, and couldn’t stop from there.
The race restarted on lap 148 with Summers again in front, but again he appeared to struggle on the restart, triggering another multi-car crash involving Ron Silk, Doug Coby, Burt Myers, and Matt Hirschman. This time, Summers was relegated to fourth in the running order, opening the door for Timmy Solomito.
While it was Solomito’s fifth career NWMT victory, it comes in the first event since the series merged with the former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. With a stout field of 29 cars entering the race at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Solomito unquestionably beat a field of the strongest Modified racers in the United States.
“It’s always cool to be a part of history,” said Solomito. “I grew up in the bleachers at my home track, Riverhead Raceway, wondering if I’d ever be able to drive a modified. To be able to say that I am part of Whelen Modified Tour history is pretty wild and pretty cool in my eyes.”
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by JRi Shocks, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from the season-opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, including video interviews with Timmy Solomito and many of the frontrunners from Saturday’s race still to come on the Speed51 Network powered by JEGS.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Ztevans
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150
Myrtle Beach Speedway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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